‘Tis the season to be Julie! Sarah-Louise Young brings her acclaimed cabaret show Julie Madly Deeply, a tribute to showbiz icon Dame Julie Andrews, to London’s Park Theatre for a limited Christmas season from 20 December 2021 to 1 January 2022. She told us more about the show, its inspiration and her favourite singalong moments. Time to get booking!
An award-winning performer, Young’s other credits include Fascinating Aida, An Evening Without Kate Bush, La Soiree and more than a decade as a member of the Olivier Award-winning improvised musical troupe The Showstoppers!
In Julie Madly Deeply, in which she is joined at the piano by her long-term collaborator Michael Roulston, Young performs much-loved Julie Andrews‘ songs from Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady, intertwining them with stories from Andrews’ life from child stardom to losing her famous singing voice.
What’s Julie Madly Deeply all about?
It’s a musical love letter to Dame Julie Andrews, telling the story of her life and career from child star to Hollywood icon.
What inspired you to create the show?
I’ve always been a fan of her films and soundtracks and was curious nobody had ever tried to make a show about her before. Chatting to my producer friend Richard Carroll in Australia (where we were touring my Cabaret Wh*re show at the time), we agreed there was something untouchable about her: nobody could sing like Julie Andrews, her voice was unique. We wondered if there were a way to tell her story and sing her songs without ever impersonating her. The idea was born and the rest is history.
As a singer, the fact that she lost her voice resonated with me hugely too. She was so brave performing at the O2 in 2010 and giving her famous songs to other singers to perform. Some critics were unkind about it but I thought she was brilliant. She’s always been loyal to her fans and, in Julie Madly Deeply, we hope to give her something back too.
We guess the title is a play on the 1990 film Truly Madly Deeply. What made you choose this?
I love that film! There is a lot of competition to get bums on seats in theatre so a good title can make all the difference between someone turning the page of the brochure or taking a deeper look. We almost went with Julie Scrumptious, which is a play on Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but Julie actually turned down that role as she was worried she might get typecast forever as only doing children’s films, so we went with Julie Madly Deeply instead.
How does it feel to be bringing the show back to London?
Performing this show makes me so happy. My musical director (and long-term collaborator) Michael Roulston and I really enjoy sharing these beautiful songs with a live audience. We’ve performed all over the world; Australia, Canada, Switzerland and more recently a sell-out Off-Broadway run at 59 East 59 Theatres in New York.
Being home for Christmas and able to celebrate this show with our friends and family means a lot to us as we are so often away during the holiday season. We’re also especially delighted to be presenting the full two-act version in the marvelous main house 200-seater at the Park. We’ve performed Julie Madly Deeply to 50 people in a Maharaja’s tent and to 700 in the famous Panasonic in Toronto. It works everywhere, but it’s especially lovely to be able to create an intimate atmosphere which we’ll be able to do at the Park.
Spotted at Highbury & Islington tube! A full-sized, two act 'Julie Madly Deeply' will be flying in for 2 weeks at The Park Theatre, 20th Dec to 1st Jan. Tickets on sale now! https://t.co/XvHXZXr1WA pic.twitter.com/LAAUHAb53C
— Julie Madly Deeply (@JulieMDeeply) November 3, 2021
How has the show evolved since its inception?
After the first few try-outs, the structure has stayed pretty much the same, but each show is different depending on the audience in the room. Near the start of the show, I invite those who want to share their love of Julie Andrews with me, and then I weave some of those stories into the piece throughout the night. As an improviser (I was a member of Olivier Award-winning musical improv group The Showstoppers! for 10 years), I love getting to mix things up and incorporate each audience afresh.
Any particular highlights on tour? Do you have a favourite ever performance?
There have been so many fun nights, from cruise ships to the West End. Performing to a group of nuns from Hell’s Kitchen in New York was a definite high. At first, we thought they were just a group of mates in costume, but once we discovered they were nuns who ran their own monthly Sing-Along-A-Sound Of Music each month, it gave the whole show a wonderful energy. I think the audience loved it too – they even stayed afterwards to chat and pose for photos!
What would you like audiences to walk away feeling after coming to see your show?
Joyful, moved, nostalgic, connected and like they want to race home and re-watch Mary Poppins or seek out an old film they perhaps haven’t seen like Hawaii or Torn Curtain.
Oh, and what’s your favourite Julie Andrews song?
I love singing Could I Leave You? from Follies. Julie sang it Off-Broadway during a short run of Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together which she did just before her big come back to the Great White Way in Victor Victoria. In it, we hear a more mature Julie Andrews and she acts it so brilliantly.
I also love Say A Prayer For Me Tonight which was cut from My Fair Lady during the out-of-town try-outs, but in an interview Julie said it was one of her favourites. She worked with so many incredible composers. The show is a feast of treats for musical theatre fans.
Anything else you’d like to add?
This show isn’t just for fans of Julie Andrews. If you love her work, you’ll hear lots of songs you love plus hopefully a few you weren’t expecting. I love it, though, when a friend or partner who has been dragged along out of duty ends up falling in love with her work and racing home to listen to more of her songs. That’s a wonderful result for us as theatre-makers.
Julie Madly Deeply runs from 20 December 2021 to 1 January 2022 at the Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP, with Monday to Saturday evening performances at 7pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets priced from £18.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!